5 Tips to Proactively Protect your Brand

In today's online world of constant threats to your brand, you need to protect yourself. One of the biggest mistakes I've seen brands make, is waiting till something happens and then call in the troops to try and extinguish the fire. This is not a good strategy.

Every day new threats arise to steal your traffic, muddy your good name and find new ways to damage your brand and cut from your bottom line. Being on the defensive might be a bit too late. You need to proactively combat these threats before they happen, or when they happen the damage will be minimal. I know. A lot easier said than done.

The greatest asset your business has is its identity. This is also the aspect that is the most likely element to incur damage. The pulse of any business is returning customers and the new business that expands from customer referrals. For a business, maintaining a solid reputation among its customer base is critical.

Your brand needs a strategy to protect its identify. For most brands, there doesn't have to be a strategy that is as aggressive and all encompassing as one for say a Nike or Coca Cola, but you should have one in place. The most important thing you need to realize is what are the threats, where they are coming from and what you can do to combat them.

Let's take a look at some of the things that you can do to proactively negate any of the threats.

Request Positive Reviews from Customers

Do you feel empowered when writing a review on a product you've purchased? Of course you do.
Customer and service reviews have been empowering customers for quite some time. More than positive reviews, a customer having the power to write about negative opinions and feedback is key in impacting a brand.

Let's face it. All companies, no matter how good they are, no matter how well known they are will have consumers somewhere write something negative at some point. The troubling thing is, this review might be written by someone who has never even come near the product. It could be a former employee of the company airing his or her grievances, or it could just be someone who woke on the wrong side of the bed that morning.

There really is no tactic in stopping people from writing negative reviews. So, what can be done? You need to create a strategy that garners positive reviews. Have your salespeople, cashiers or anyone engaging with customers to post positive reviews. Tell them where to post, whether it be Yelp, Google or your Facebook page. Make business cards that provide instructions on exactly how to do it.

Creating a portal for your reviews on your website is another solid tactic. Now, you can just send your customers to your website to leave reviews.

Take it Offline

When a customer posts something negative on a review site, post a personal message with your personal email/contact info, saying that you apologize and you'd like to make it up to them. Show them you are trying to prove them wrong. Don't forget. The masses are watching and how you respond doesn't only impact that unhappy consumer, but everyone who sees that post.

Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

I can not say this enough. You need to set up searches using Google Alerts or another tool that tracks everything being sounded online about your brand. This can save your business. In all situations, offer to take it offline.

Stay on the Message

Maintaining a brand's consistent message ensures that it is not confused about its identity. Each aspect of a business flows into and has an impact on the way it is viewed. Everything from brochures and printed materials to the way the staff behaves and dresses to advertising.

Select your brand's image, whether it be cool and hip or plain and conservative. Whatever you choose, let the image trickle down to your staff, so they know the image you are trying to portray.

Social Media is a Tightrope

Proceed with caution, In today's day and age, anyone can be anyone. While having a social media presence is vital to a brand, if not utilized correctly it could do some serious damage to reputation.

While proportionately the number of unhappy customers is not a large number, Social Media tends to amplify everything with all its sharing options and its captive audience. If you are getting hit hard on Social Media, maybe it's time to rethink strategy.

Now, the above might be a lot to digest and it really only is 5 tips. If the above may seem overwhelming, I suggest looking into a Brand Protection tool that works round the clock and monitors your digital assets and the web for threats and violations to your brand. This includes violating PPC ads, Mobile App counterfeits and a lot more.